Iqbal Quadir is not your typical investment banker. Inspired by the non-profit Grameen Bank‘s success in his native country of Bangladesh, Quadir has created a variety of initiatives which allow the private sector to be the driving force for development in the Third World. CNN and The Economist (“Power to the People“) both report of Quadir’s initiatives to bring cell phone service, power, and other clean water to the developing world using entrepreneurs. For instance, Emergence Energy is one of his ventures which aims to establish small, neighborhood power plants in Bangladesh that can provide electricity to a handful of homes. Below is an excerpt from the Economist article on Quadir’s clean water program:
At the same time, Mr Quadir is pursuing two other bottom-up initiatives. The first, CleanWater, is dedicated to supplying safe drinking water to Bangladeshi villages, where arsenic contamination is a grave problem. Rather than relying on aid agencies or governments to install equipment, Mr Quadir hopes to license a chemical preparation that can remove arsenic from water and make it safe to drink. The chemical would then be distributed and sold, like salt, via a network of local entrepreneurs; Mr Quadir estimates that buyers would have to spend around $3 per person per year on the chemical to ensure a safe water supply, which is well within reach of most villagers. Again, this initiative would create jobs, provide a wider societal benefit, and give people the means to solve a serious problem themselves.